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Home > Magazine > City > New Old Citybike for Me! ...Raleigh Superbe, 23" ...Yeah!

New Old Citybike for Me! ...Raleigh Superbe, 23" ...Yeah!
June 16, 2013

I'm excited. I just bought a yard sale Raleigh Superbe, 23", green. Totally rusty, rotted and dirty. Any hope? We'll see!

I love that green. Fingers crossed!

The guy actually asked $20. It was in a pile of dead Huffys. I paid. I didn't have a ten on me to negotiate.

It has the locking fork! I wanna get it working! I wonder if I can get a key for it. [Update: heard eBay is a source.]

I've had a 21" Phillips for decades. It had been my spritely citybike, especially when I lived in Ann Arbor -- daily driver there. But having a seatpost sticking up a foot has been ugly and lame. And the reach has been too short for all these years.

I recall looking a long time back then for a 23" 3sp -- they're rare.

My salvage Paramount looked almost as bad when I got it and it cleaned up nearly totally.

I like patina. I'm just going to clean and buff and see what happens. No major invasiveness. Whatever rust remains, I'll leave and love it all the more. Green patina, here I come!

I'll clean it all up and lube it and probably get rid of the white cable housing. OK, the tires are probably shot. Ha. Totally rotted. But the front is holding air! The rear rim looks dented a bit here'n'there -- I'll straighten it!

These frames were hand-made -- it was their deluxe citybike. Thrill!


I couldn't wait a minute to dive into reviving this bike. So I started with scrubby pad and cleaner. Then I did a few light passes with steel wool. Hard passes on the chrome. It came around nicely!

There's still a lot of rust and I hear that Evapo-Rust is good for that. Also Lee Valley makes rust removing gel I could try.

The crank is loose. I'll read Sheldon for cotter lore.

The saddle is bone dry. It seems dead, right? Well, my old Phillips looked that way decades ago and is still hanging in there. Sheldon has lore for that, too: bathe in neats-foot oil. Will do.

It'll be so much fun having a 3spd that fits me!

There are a couple famous upgrades people do to them: install a larger rear cog to make 2nd actually nice for the flats and 3rd into a gear you might even use and 1st a real climber (we don't have hills anyway). (Right now 2nd is kinda hard for flats. 3rd is a rare thing. 1st is OK for mild hills or slow spinning on flats.)

A rear rack would be nice.

Aluminum rims are another upgrade the serious boys make. Turns it into a real path-racer.

Well, what's nice is that it's really strictly for around town and is fine as-is.

I will have to buff up on my Diesel Punk look now, though... : )

Here's the bike it'll replace. Too small!

I couldn't wait! Here it is after its first clean-up. NICE!


Any hope?

Look what I found at a yard sale. How well will it clean up? Let's find out! ...Raleigh Superbe, 23". At first glance in the pile of bikes it was in I couldn't even tell what color it was. Might be nice!

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